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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest News for May 26, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Tim Maloney

Garzelli vows to fight on

Stefano Garzelli
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) was forced to concede another 39" to arch-rival Gilberto Simoni in yesterday's time trial, despite being 19" up at the first time check after 10 km. "Well I think Simoni was really great and the headwind kind of slowed me down," Garzelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport today. "I decided to start fast to try and close the gap quickly, but you not only have to have the conviction, you also need the legs to do it. Between the 10th and the 20th kilometre I lost ground, then I was able to come back and pick things up and just try to keep my pace."

"This is a specialty that you really have to be used to in training. Next Sunday we'll have the next time trial and I'm sure I'm going to be very aware of the mistakes I made this time."

"Simoni's going to be tough to beat now," added Garzelli. "He's got a lot of confidence from this. There's still a week of racing, with a time trial and two mountain stages. Those stages have climbs that are better for me, not as steep, as Simoni likes."

Of his overall performance in this year's race, Garzelli has no complaints. "I won two stages. I was second twice and third once. More than that I couldn't ask for. If I had the chance, I'd do everything over the way I did it."

Garzelli's team director Mauro Gianetti commented that a lack of practice in time trialing was to his disadvantage. "To have on a 55 tooth chainring on the front doesn't mean you always have to use the 11 -you can actually use a 14 and have a straight chain line," he said. "The truth is that for a long time, Stefano hasn't ridden a time trial. It was partly his legs but also his concentration. With the exception of the Giro 2002 prologue, it's been two years since the Tour de France in 2001 that he has ridden one."

Yaroslav Popovych gains seconds

Yaroslav Popovych
Photo: © Sirotti
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Yaroslav Popovych is the only top GC rider who gained time on Gilberto Simoni yesterday, placing sixth in the 42.5 km stage 15. Even though he was third in the U23 World Time Trial Championships in 2001, it was probably due more to his tremendous form than his time trialing ability. "Really I haven't done many time trials," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Since I've been racing in Italy I've only done five time trials, but this winter I've done a lot of training on my TT bike and I can really see the difference now."

The last time Popovych rode in a time trial was in the Tour of Romandie. "Well that was a different kind of race," he said. "There was a lot of wind and that last steep climb through Lausanne killed me. Yesterday I really tried to use lower gears and keep my rhythm high. My DS Locatelli was telling me in the earphones to 'keep going like's great' and I really felt good."

Now Popovych thinks that he has a pretty good chance to arrive on the podium in Milan. "Well I'm pretty optimistic for the last week," he said. "I'm trying to keep my position. Even last year I got stronger towards the end of the Giro."

Petacchi sore, but will continue

Tough guy Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) decided to start today's 16th stage, despite his bad crash during the time trial yesterday that saw him lose 11'34 and a a bit of skin. "He didn't sleep that well last night but he wants to start," team director Stefano Zanatta told Cyclingnews. "He's going to start and see how he feels. If there's no complications or other pain we think he'll be OK, otherwise he may well abandon during the stage. We'll wait and see at this point."

Operation for Moreni

Yesterday morning, Cristian Moreni (Alessio) was operated on in Brescia by Dr. Terragnoli for his broken left wrist. Moreni crashed in stage 12 of the Giro, along with Paolo Tiralongo and Carlos Garcia Quesada. Following the operation, today he'll have an idea of when he'll be able to get back on his bike, and hopes to be able to start in the Tour de France.

Stage 16 preview: Arco-Pavia 207km

A long, classic sprinter's stage that's so flat, it doesn't even have a KOM. With Petacchi doubtful, Cipo, Brown, Galvez and Robbie McEwen out of the Giro, look for a battle between experienced 34 year old Czech sprinter Jan Svorada (Lampre) and emerging Italian youngster Daniele Bennati (Domina Vacanze).

Live coverage of the 16th stage on Cyclingnews commences at 14:30 CEST.

Cipollini writes to Leblanc

At a short meeting at Venice airport on Friday, Domina Vacanze team manager Vincenzo Santoni and the director of the Italian Professional Cycling Council Claudio Santi met with Tour de France boss Jean-Marie Leblanc to discuss the issue of Mario Cipollini's exclusion from the Tour de France. There they handed Jean-Marie a letter written by Cipollini which explained that - if given the chance - he wants to finish the Tour in Paris this year. This was in answer to Leblanc's major criticism of the Tuscan sprinter: that Cipollini has had a tendency to pull out of the Tour when the mountains approached.

Leblanc was quoted in Het Nieuwsblad as saying that it was "A very kind and humble letter. We will study his question." Leblanc was quoted earlier as saying that Cipollini has a "10-15 percent chance" of starting in the Tour.

Vincenzo Santoni told Cyclingnews that there should be some kind of decision later this week about whether a 23rd team is allowed into the Tour de France. Any participation of a 23rd team will have to be approved by the Professional Cycling Council. In addition to increasing the peloton to 207 riders, it's also a logistical problem to handle all of the team's staff and riders, with only six weeks to the start of the Centenary Tour.

iBanesto and Kelme tour teams take shape

Two of the Spanish teams in the Tour de France, and Kelme-Costa Blanca, have started selecting their riders for the Tour. will go with climbers Francisco Mancebo, Juan Miguel Mercado and Denis Menchov, with Jose Garcia Acosta, Javier Pascual Rodriguez, Evgeni Petrov and Jose Ivan Gutierrez in support. Other riders for the Tour team could be picked from Pablo Lastras, Unai Osa, Vladimir Karpets and Rafael Mateos Perez.

Kelme has chosen eight of its nine riders as follows: Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Cabello, Jose E. Gutierrez, David Latasa, Jesus Manzano, Ivan Parra, Javier Pascual Llorente and Toni Tauler. The remaining rider could be picked from Jose Cayetano Julia Cegarra, Juan Cuenca, or David Muņoz.

Fans pay last respects to Rik Van Steenbergen

A crowd of 2000 people was present at the funeral of Belgian cycling legend Rik Van Steenbergen last Saturday in Westmalle's Sint Pauluskerk. Van Steenbergen died a week and a half ago of cancer, aged 78, and was considered one of the best all round cyclists ever. At the funeral, there were a number of greats of the sport present, including Eddy Merckx, Rik Van Looy, Roger de Vlaeminck, Walter Godefroot, Johan De Muynck, Lucien Van Impe, Freddy Maertens and Briek Schotte. Also UCI president Hein Verbruggen and Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt were there for the occasion.

2004 World Track Championships get into gear

The 2004 World Track Championships will be held exactly one year from now in Melbourne's Vodafone Arena, from May 26-30. Even though the 2003 World's have yet to take place (scheduled for late July-early August in Stuttgart), the organisers of the 2004 World's are already planning things for next year.

"The World Championships will act as the final qualification for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and sports fans will experience the thrills and action as the very best in the world do battle for the honour of wearing the World Champion's rainbow jersey," said Organising Committee Chairman, Geoff Henke, who pointed to the ideal training facilities and accommodation in Melbourne.

Several national federations have already booked accommodation and transport for their teams and this, along with the expected influx of cycling fans to Melbourne, is expected to provide an economic boost to Victoria.

"We are well underway with our preparations to host the more than forty countries expected to qualify for the event, and we are looking forward to presenting a successful event for both competitors and spectators," said Henke. "Not every one will be able to get a ticket for Athens but instead they can come to Melbourne and enjoy the 'world's most liveable city' and experience world class cycling action. The event will attract international media attention and will be televised around the world."

Cycling Australia president Mike Victor commented that "Victoria has a strong cycling tradition and Melbourne last year demonstrated it has the expertise and enthusiasm to host a major cycling event when it successfully staged the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships at the Vodafone Arena. Australia is ranked number one in the world in track cycling and I know our cyclists are excited about the chance to compete on a home track."

Four time world champion and Olympic silver (1992) and bronze (2000) medallist, Shane Kelly is one rider who knows the benefit of racing in front of a home crowd. At the 1997 World Championships in Perth, Western Australia, he overcame injuries and illness in the lead up to the final of the kilometre time trial and responded to the enthusiastic support of Australian fans with a gold medal.

"It was an amazing feeling to have that support and there is no doubt it lifted me to the next level," said Kelly. "If you're on and having a good day the crowd's enthusiasm can give you that bit extra that makes it a great day."

"I'm also looking forward to having my friends and family see me in action at a World Championships," said Kelly. "I expect this will be the last time in my career that I have the opportunity to race a World's in Australia and what better place for it to be than in Melbourne."

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)